15 May 2023
Celebrating International Day of Families – Nurturing Hearts, Empowering Lives: Embrace, Connect, Thrive!
Today, as we come together to honor the International Day of Families, let’s shine a light on an essential aspect of family wellbeing in the face of conflicts: the crucial need for a whole family approach to mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS).
In humanitarian settings, families endure immense hardships that can profoundly impact their stability and overall mental wellbeing. However, by fostering a holistic approach to MHPSS, we can create an environment where families can find solace, support, and the strength to heal and rebuild.
Did you know?
Nearly 1 billion people worldwide are living with mental health conditions, and during humanitarian crises, common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are expected to more than double. In conflict and crisis-affected settings, around 22.1% of people have a mental health condition, while 9% have a moderate or severe mental disorder. The prevalence of these conditions is linked to social determinants such as poverty, violence, discrimination, and ongoing stressors.
Despite the scale of the problem, many affected populations do not receive adequate mental health and psychosocial support due to inadequate or nonexistent care systems. Low-income countries spend only 0.5% of their health expenditure on mental health, with a focus on over-medicalized services rather than community-based ones. Globally, governments spend just 2% of their health budget on mental health. Funding for child and family mental health and psychosocial support is also lacking, with only a small percentage of official development assistance and private sector funding allocated to these areas. As a result, caregivers, children, and marginalized communities bear the brunt of these shortcomings.
We strive to create a world where every family thrives and no one is left behind.
It is critical to it invest in and prioritize the wellbeing and support of caregivers in conflict and crisis affected due to their own mental health and ability to responsively parent, having clear implications for the healthy development and resilience of their children, future generations, and communities.
A whole family approach to MHPSS recognizes that every family member’s well-being is interconnected. By addressing the unique needs and challenges of each individual within the family unit, we promote resilience, foster healthier communication, and bolster collective coping strategies.
On this International Day of Families, let us reaffirm our commitment to standing by those affected by conflicts. By reuniting families first and foremost, empowering families with the vital tools they need to rebuild their lives, and by creating safe spaces where they can openly share their experiences and emotions, engage in group counseling, support one another, and participate in recreational activities. In doing so, we can contribute to a brighter future, where stability, love, and resilience prevail.